Non-RP – A counter to Evocation Adzhera’s article

The following is a counter to Evocation Adzhera’s article about the problems/how to fix Eve Online.

The original article content is included in line. My responses are in italics.

The issue is, this “sandbox” game is not what you make it, it is what the trolls of Eve Online make it for you. You have no decision how you really play Eve Online, you are, from the second you log on, at the mercy of large “null sec” alliances that control the prices of all items in Eve Online. You are at the mercy of huge “griefing” alliances who roam the “Empire” which is supposedly a “safe zone”, declaring war on everyone because the prices to do so, are VERY cheap and be kept up with little to no effort. But, as per usual, CCP, refuse to fix the issues which mar an otherwise perfect game.

  • Griefing alliances and war declarations.

These huge coalitions who “blue” each other i.e set positive standings towards each other. Turn the “safe” area of Eve Online into their own personal war zone. 99% of these so called “pvp pilots” are in fact massive cowards who refuse to fight when it’s “not a sure win”. The alliances have HUNDREDS of war declarations going at once and have a huge target rich environment. Which consists mostly of new players who are constantly driven out of Eve Online. After all, who wants to play a game where you die every second and have no way of making money.

Firstly lets get one fallacy out of the way. There is no safe area in Eve Online once you’re undocked. That’s as it should be. I also agree with you that the wardec mechanic needs significant attention and that the situation in HS with the likes of Marmite and CODE is sub-optimal.  However to say that wardecs stop you making money and result in dying every second is untrue.  When I was running my HS corp, we made sure that we had multiple options to go “Off Grid” if the heat got too much. We maintained c2 and c3 wormholes for day tripping and mining which also served brilliantly in teaching other pilots about mechanics in other parts of the game. We also looked at dead end HS systems and HS pockets to avoid showing up on the enemies radar. We eventually ended up with a NPC Nullsec pocket down in syndicate too as it was easier and safer for our miners to work in Null and make profits than in HS.

 You also then have to look at things like predictable behaviour patterns and actual game skills.  Are your guys getting caught because they don’t know how to use d-scan well?  Are they returning to mine or mission run at exactly the same time of day in the same systems?  Are your guys sharing intel with other wardecced corps? Do you have people recording likely scout or logi alts and making sure they are set orange/red?

  • You are dead from the second you undock

In many ways this is repeated by every idiot in Eve Online who hides behind his mothers skirt, spouting nonsense into local chats, giving iot the “big I am” but would mostly shit themselves the second they met the person they were taunting. CCP has created an environment where you don’t even need to be in a “legal” war to open fire on some one. In fact the most common use of these tactics is to fit “destroyer” class ships which cost next to nothing, get ten people and kill a ship worth a hundred times more.

Of course CCP claims this is a system which incurs a “penalty” to your “security status”. But as the leader of a large corporation myself, I can tell you, being -10 security status i.e “full pirate” does not impede us using Empire AT ALL. In fact, we could spend all day in “safe space” killing newbies and CCP would do NOTHING about it, if anything, they would stand there cheering us on.

The opening sentence of your statement really is a little presumptuous and jars with my own experiences. I’ve been to a LOT of eve meets, and met a lot of players from all professions and area of space. Almost without exception, although we can be an odd bunch, Eve players are courteous nice geeky types who just want to chat about space antics.  That includes the likes of Tora Bushido (Marmite CEO), the Goons etc. etc. 

I’d also take anyone spouting anything in local with a big pinch of salt. It’s a broadcast/propaganda tool which is used by some organisations to get a reaction.  Don’t react. For the griefer types which are undeniably there in any game, your reaction is the prize they seek.  If you’ve followed all of the sensible precautions against ganks/decs and they still get you or a corpmate, don’t give them the satisfaction of showing your annoyance.

I can tell you from personal experience that being -10 and going into HS is largely fatal.  The security mechanics are just about avoidable if you know exactly what you’re doing but it takes experience and if you pause at any point you will be killed. These is an argument to suggest that docking at stations in HS should be denied to pilots that are -5 or below and I’d happily support that mechanic change.

  • One common insult “go back to WoW”

Eve players use this as if it’s a huge insult, but as a person who has been subscribed to Blizzards masterpiece since beta, the games are so vastly different that to even compare them, is beyond a joke. If anything, CCP could learn how to run a “real” MMO by making changes to guarantee the safety of new players, but as always, CCP is afraid of it’s player base. So they again, do nothing. They would rather allow Eve to be ruled by a community of trolls and vile players.

It sounds like you love WoW.  That’s great but you’re right these are two very very different games. Personally it’s a not a game I can play exactly because of it’s non permissive nature.  Nothing in it feels like an achievement or worth anything.  There’s little to no persistence and trust between players is irrelevant because it’s guaranteed.  In eve building up trust relationships is hugely important precisely because of the prospect of betrayal. Friendships and actual trust in eve is stronger than in any other game.

You also seem to think that a “real” MMO has to guarantee the safety of new players?  Why? You also make a huge assumption that everyone else is a troll/vile, frankly that’s kind of insulting to the huge majority of us that aren’t.  What you can guarantee though in any walk of life is that making huge generalisations and throwing emotive terms around will put up the backs of the moderate players too.

  • NPC corporations In Eve Online

When starting the game, you are placed in a NPC corporation, but, anything you earn that pays cash, for some odd reason, CCP has placed an 11.0% tax on it. This of course was in direct response to a forum post by a bunch of fools who whined about players staying in NPC corps to avoid being “war decked”. Yet again, CCP had one rant thrown at them and they caved. It is astounding how little courage the leaders of CCP have when it comes to confronting the player base.

What’s the problem with an 11% tax? In the past I’ve run corps at 100% tax because we were all building and aiming for something as a group.  11% tax for being completely immune to wardecs doesn’t sound unreasonable at all. That’s also not something that really even affects you except in specific situations. Corp tax is NOT applied to: Sell orders, money on hand, contracts, personal trades, gifts, ransoms (unless there’s a specific rule in your corp about sharing), ore mined, ore refined, ore sold, minerals sold/bought, or any other market-type activity. It’s rat bounties and mission payouts that it affects and that’s quite a specific area of eve. This seems like a bit of an odd hill to choose to die on.

I’m also unsure why you think that consistent lobbying by quite large swatches of the game is “one rant thrown at CCP and they caved”. I’m not sure how much of the history of eve you’re aware of but the big events that CCP has reacted to have involved tens of thousands of players across all parts of space coming together to protest a mechanic/situation not single individuals lone voices.  CCP even have a unique player advisory panel in the CSM which, although the null blocs have significant influence due to their size and organization, provides agency for all players to have an indirect link to CCP for feedback.  Mike Azariah for a number of years was the HS representative and did a great job. Now you have the likes of Jin’Taan who although a null FC has genuine warmth for all parts of the game and has hosted things like wardec roundtables to try and address and collate issues from all sides of the argument.  Look out for his activity and get to know him as he will listen and pass on learnings to CCP.

  • “Please remove war decs”

A petition was made and handed to CCP. It stated that with low security space, wormhole space and Null sec space, there was no need for a “war dec” system, that there should a “safe space” for players to learn Eve Online. This of course caused a MASSIVE uproar with the “griefer” community on Eve Online. CCP did not even try to “test” the theory, they simply shut it down and said “not a chance” – But then, who would want a safe area for its player base to learn the game and fall in love with it? Apparently, not CCP.

I’m unaware of this petition and I’d consider myself relatively in touch with the player base/meta.  Where can I look at this and how many signatories did it get? Did it go through the CSM and who championed it? 

I’ll explain why people reacted to this negatively and it’s all down to what makes eve special – There are no safe spaces in Eve Online and there shouldn’t be. There are no safe spaces in the real world either just places that are more or less dangerous. Someone could break into your house tomorrow, it’s just unlikely if you take the right precautions. The same is true in eve and this is one of the many reasons that the “Eve is Real” meme exists. 

This is a dark, nasty world where death is just around the corner.  If you haven’t read any of the lore, I recommend Empyrean Age and Templar One – They are both great books that really lend some heft to the world and highlight why the game is like it is.

A big mistake that HS corp CEOs often make is that thinking numbers of pilots in your corp will protect you from wardecs when in actual fact it’s the complete opposite. The wardec people want targets, pure and simple. Be lean, kick anyone that’s inactive over a month with a nice email explaining they can join right back up if/when they play again – They are useless to you if they aren’t flying and make you a target. If you’ve got 150 active players as you imply, then you are a real force to be reckoned with.

  • Shooting without war decs? Stop it.

Another request was made to CCP, that players should not be able to “activate” weapons on people they are not at war with. This of course is a huge thing in Eve Online, ships known as “freighters” which carry MASSIVE amounts of cargo to be traded by players who like to trade on the market, are killed by “suicide gank squads” every day, players loose billions of in-game money in an instant. CCP’s response was to shut this down as well. It seem’s that CCP does not want any area of space safe for new players.

If you’re a freighter pilot you learn your profession just like any pilot in new eden.  You know where the gankers tend to cluster, you use webbing alts, you definitely don’t go afk ever and you use intelligence networks (and system killboards to see how is active and where).  There is always a low risk of getting ganked, but guess what, most freighters get through to where they are going and make their money, or they’d stop.  There is also a tradeoff with fitting tank vs capacity and I’m always amazed by the number of pilots that choose not to fit a tank.

You’re also not thinking about the effort involved in setting up an organized freighter gank. Someone has to have all the ships fitted and ready, to have the players online, to have the spies in the correct system, to work out the maths involved in the gank itself. It’s much more complex than you’re implying above.  If you’re being targeted and killed regularly by lones gankers, your tank is quite probably wrong and there’s a possibility that you’re being overly predictable in your behaviour.

It’s also something that reflects real life.  It’s possible, although hopefully very unlikely, that a random person could pull a gun and shoot you in the street.  Most people realise that there would be a difference in risk if you were in the centre of town in the middle of day versus 4am in the morning in a slum whilst wearing an ill fitting suit covered in gold (not a Jin’Taan reference).

  • In-Game Events

These so called “events” use the exact same model every time, just sites anyone can warp to and attack, good right? No, because players will make themselves “suspect flagged” and trick new players into attacking them and blow them up. Even the holiday events are marred by trolls and despicable people. CCP of course stands back and says “tut tut” and does nothing. “Risk Vs Reward” No CCP, it’s assholes vs new players who cannot protect themselves.

You’re describing every site in New Eden. Not just event sites, it’s ore belts, missions, incursion sites etc.. When I joined my first corp, older players took me through some of the common tricks and later when I had my own corp  we had an induction chat with new players to take them through the tricks that a tiny minority of eve players use in HS so that they were forewarned.  You also now have the safety button feature which wasn’t around when I started and actually does a good job of preventing new players falling into some of the more obvious suspect bait traps.

The point of the events is to get people out and about and off the beaten track and I see that in that respect they work well. If you have an event such as the recent race event that’s going to encourage predictable behavior and predictability in eve (and indeed in the real world) provides opportunities for hunters. In this case smartbombers learned the route that people were taking, in their untanked, max speed ships and got a few hundred kills from the thousands upon thousands of people running the event.

You say “even the holiday events” are marred by trolls as if a holiday should somehow mean that everyone should  be safe? Have you heard the Icelandic Christmas tales about the Yule Lads who literally are 13 trolls that steal anything not nailed down and leave rotting potatoes for children.  What about the giant demon cat Gryla that comes down from the mountains and devours children if they aren’t dressed and heaving their best on Christmas day? Different cultures have hugely different traditions and in Iceland’s case there are some pretty dark holiday tales.

CCP don’t say “tut tut” about ganking or piracy around events. If people are moving around New Eden and interacting then the event is a success. They are proud of their permissive world and it’s difference to other MMOs.  It’s why most of us play.

  • Is combat really fair?

Good god no, you could place a 10yr old player and a brand new player in the same ship, same fittings, same ammo, same rigs and say “go go”. The new player would be dead in seconds, now with “abyss” space, older players now have stupid powerful modules which even small gangs cannot break.

EXAMPLE – My 32 man frigate gang attacked a LONE Megathron class battleship, he killed every single one of us, not once did he or was he in any danger of being killed. Why? Large Abyss Armor reps x 2. CCP of course “tut tut” but does nothing.

Combat in Eve Online in terms of “PvP” has become a sick joke.

So you think that at 10 year old player with all the attendant skill they’ve gained in piloting, situational awareness, knowing when to overheat, when to activate modules SHOULDN’T have an advantage over someone that’s never played the game?  That simply makes no sense.  That quite literally applies to any game too.  A grandmaster chess player has the same pieces in front of him that a 4 year old child would also have.  The child won’t win a game without catching up the years of practice that the grandmaster has. Is that “fair”? Yes, because they put in the practice. If it were even it would mean there was NO skill involved in playing which would make for a very dull game.

Your Megathron example is also an odd one. 32 frigates should be more than enough to destroy your target, deadspace reps, with asklepians/drugs or whatever. However I’d question that makeup of that frigate gang. Were you running with support like Griffins or Mauluses? Did you have neuts (those reps don’’t do anything if you’ve got no cap)?Did you have frigate logi with you?  Any of these would have tipped the fight in your balance very very quickly. A lot of pvp in eve is about understanding and knowing what you’re likely to be fighting, in terms of fits and what you need to bring to counter it. Why would CCPsay “tut tut” in this situation. One pilot just beat 32 people!? That’s AWESOME and exactly the kind of story that sells eve to new players.

Is that fair? Well yes, everyone can learn situational understanding through practice and can look up a pilot’s behavior by looking at Zkillboard and understanding how people fly ships in different situations. You can buy and fly that Megatron too.

Anyone can get abyssal modules.  You can run up to tier 3with a simple t2 Vexor Navy Issue. That’s a low barrier of entry and I imagine if I were still in my old HS corp the guys would be running and farming these non-stop to create and sell precisely the modules you’re describing.  This has always been the case with dedspace modules and the like.  If you have lots of ISK and want to spend a huge amount of extra money to get a small extra edge that’s your choice.

So from all of this we can CCP activity is trying to create a game that is despised by millions of gamer’s.  Game’s such as World Of Warcraft, Runescape etc, which is played by MILLIONS of young gamer’s, create servers in which PvE is rampant but they have the “opportunity” to PvP if they so wish.

You’re quoting a list of games I find near unplayable. Nothing matters in those environments. Another thing they all have in common is that they are much newer games which favour a quick reward strategy “themepark” approach and are not sandboxes.

You’re comparing apples with oranges and you’ve decided that because you like oranges that the apple should be an orange too. None of these worlds you quote have any consequences and although I understand that people like them, they are just too shallow and childish for me to enjoy.

CCP seem’s to think that taking this away from players and forcing you to play a certain way is a winning strategy, but with Eve Online active numbers dropping, how long is it until CCP realises it’s make? Will it act fast enough to save a sinking ship? I think not.

People say things such as “the game has been here for 15yrs”, yes it has, but it’s active numbers is that of a World Of Warcraft servers online players for one server, not the 30+ servers WoW has.

CCP doesn’t make you play in any particular way at all. Quite the opposite. During my playtime I’ve lived in HS, Null, WHs, LS.  I’ve done exploration, mission running, large scale PvP, small gang pvp, null carebearing, FW. 

New Eden provides about the most open-ended system of any game I’ve ever played. If all you want to do is sit in one system mining the same belt over and over again (I’m not saying that’s what you do it’s just an example), you’re not really buying into the whole capsuleer being a god in the New Eden universe narrative.

In WoW you can literally only play in one way. Everyone has the same experience. People can’t change that experience at all. In New Eden it’s up to people to be what they want to be.

Eve is dieing, the question is, will CCP save It.

I hope so, but I highly doubt it, because if your not a huge powerful CEO or on the CSM, you’re nothing and not worthy of notice.

Take me for instance, 3 years of Eve Online videos, not once has CCP plugged me. It seem’s CCP cares about money and not it’s player base.

Which is a deep deep shame.

Shame on you CCP, it’s time you started fixing Eve Online.

This piece is full of contradictions.  You claim that CCP doesn’t listen to it’s player base when what you actually mean is that that aren’t prioritizing your specific concerns. Earlier on in the piece you state that CCP basically only listens to the “wrong” people when they are the majority. I don’t mean this to sound harsh but actually you’re in a tiny minority of players that want true safe spaces in Eve.  You complain about the CSM but have you tried running and rounding up the HS corps that support your views?  There are mechanisms there for you to gain agency and if you feel that passionately about it, do something that’s not just writing an article.

Your “fixes” as put out in this article would kill Eve immediately for the vast majority of people that play the game.  That’s not because we are “vile trolls” it’s because we love the feeling of reality/permissiveness we get from this universe which we can’t get from any other game on the market at the moment.

Finally about your videos. I can’t say how CCP chose the people to promote but I can say that basic game mechanic  tutorials aren’t what sells the game to new players, no matter how useful they are. The giant fights, the audacious hotdrops, the lone Megathron beating 30 players (!) are the videos that get potential new players thinking “I want to be able to do that!”.

Just as a final signoff, your attitude sucks. Just because you think that there should be changes and not everyone agrees with you, you’ve decided everyone that plays Eve is a “vile troll”. Articles like the above read like someone that doesn’t understand the game at all and some of your other comments put people’s backs up and invite mockery even from the moderate and sensible players.

It really does sound like you understand the game mechanics but have no idea about the sandbox and how to forge your niche and exist in it.  As someone who loves newbros I’d be terrified at you teaching them as I feel you’d be teaching them how to be a victim rather than giving the skills for them to do what they want in the future which is what I saw my HS CEO role as.  If someone left me after a few months to go their own way I was ecstatic. My former guys are everywhere now, Mercenary Coalition, Goons, PL, WHs, Faction Warfare, Incursion Running, Exploration and most of them are still playing.  If your guys are stopping playing after a few months or weeks I’d question what I was doing rather than blaming the game.

Good luck and have fun in whatever games that you play.

 Saint Michaels Soul

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